Abstract Examples from the Southern Alps (North Italy) serve to illustrate the use of carbonate platform-basin relations to recognize strike-slip tectonics and to estimate amounts of displacements. It is noted that two-dimensional cross-sections across strike-slip faults cannot be balanced and three-dimensional reconstructions would be necessary to restore original paleogeographic shapes of platform-basin margins. The main characteristics of strike-slip tectonics are: 1. (a) tectonic omission of fragments of the original carbonate platform-basin system in two-dimensional section; 2. (b) subvertical dip of the fault; 3. (c) juxtaposition of differing thicknesses and facies of equivalent formations across faults, when these differences cannot be explained by normal growth faults; 4. (d) anomalous tectonic wedging of subvertical basinal ductile sediments in the core of the carbonate platform. Normal faults cutting inclined slope margins may simulate apparent horizontal displacements. Platform-basin margins influence thin-skinned thrust tectonics in that overthrust ramps may be guided by clinoforms, and oblique or lateral ramps may develop along margins that are at an angle of 0°–70° to the main compressional axis.